Tuesday, May 31, 2011
by Weston Ochse
Published by Dark Regions Press
Multiplex Fandango is a sixteen-story, 283-page collection of fiction spanning over a decade of Weston Ochse's career. The stories, six of which were written specifically for this book, are each preceded by a movie-style introduction of the main characters (or elements of the story) and a quote, generally from a movie or book.
Weston Ochse is the real deal: a military veteran and former intelligence officer whose resume is no doubt peppered with events he can't talk about, who travels to exotic locales on government business to this day and lives with his wife in the American desert Southwest. So when he writes about places like China, Japan, the Mexican desert, the streets of Los Angeles and New Orleans during Mardi Gras, there's a sense of authenticity that you'd typically only find in an anthology featuring several authors from different walks of life. Ochse's work has received high praise from genre stalwarts like Joe Lansdale, Ed Lee, Brian Keene and the late Richard Laymon, and Ochse himself cites Cormac McCarthy as an influence. In fact, Ochse's short stories channel McCarthy's enviable skill at painting pictures and setting scenes with mere human language.
“Tarzan Doesn't Live Here Anymore,” Fandango's opening story; “High Desert Come to Jesus,” about a man involuntarily seeking penance from his victims; “Hiroshma Falling,” about a melted man's struggle to find his family in the aftermath of America's nuclear strike on Japan and “City of Joy,” a heart-wrenching science-fiction story, are personal favorites and are all worth the cover price individually, but only comprise a quarter of the book's material. Even the one story that missed the mark in this humble reviewer's opinion, “The Crossing of Aldo Rey,” was unique and tense and didn't quite resonate simply because it was written from a perspective that is sometimes hard to digest. The short notes from Ochse at the end of each story, detailing their origins and inspirations, are a welcome addition and all part of the Multiplex Fandango experience.
Multiplex Fandango is available for pre-order now through Dark Regions Press.
Reviewed by by Lincoln Crisler
Lincoln Crisler's debut novella, WILD, is due in March from Damnation Books. He has also authored a pair of short story collections, Magick & Misery (2009, Black Bed Sheet) and Despairs & Delights (2008, Arctic Wolf). A United States Army combat veteran and non-commissioned officer, Lincoln lives in Augusta, Georgia with his wife and two of his three children. You can visit his website at www.lincolncrisler.info.